Ah yes, the joys of prison. I was sitting in the dayroom playing cards, when all of a sudden, two guards came up to me. One said, “Mr. Jennings, come with us.”
I said nothing. I set down my cards and stood up. The guards escorted me to the back of the unit. That’s where the holding cells are.
I was ordered to strip naked. As I stood there naked in front of two guards, one says, “Run your fingers through your hair.”
“Mouth”, he barked.
I opened my mouth for inspection.
I bent my ears forward and turned my head so they could see behind them.
I let him look up my nose.
I raised my arms.
I separated my penis from my testicles. Then I lifted my testicles.
“Turn around, bend over, and spread ‘em.”
Finally he said, “Feet.”
I showed him the bottom of my feet.
At this point, I’m shivering as I stand on the cold cement. My clothes are in a pile on the dirty floor. One guard reaches down and grabs my socks. He turns them inside out and inspects them. He hands them to the other guard, then that guard hands them to me. I put them on. As is. Inside out. As this process unfolds and I’m getting dressed, I finally ask, “What is all this about?”
One guard lies and says, “I don’t know.”
I ask, “Well then who knows?”
He says, “The Sargent.”
“May I please speak with him?”
“I’ll let him know you wanna talk with him,” he replies. And with that, he locked me in the holding cell and they walk away.
About thirty minutes later, here comes Sgt. Lopez. I ask him what’s going on. He says, “Someone dropped a snitch kite on you.”
Right away I know he’s lying. The timing is off. It’s 5:30 pm. There’s no way they’d be doing all this now. If they really did get a snitch kite, they would’ve received it by 9 am. And they would’ve reacted right then and there. Like they did the time someone dropped a kite on me saying that I had pizza and pie stacked sky high in my cell. (Wanna hear that story? Okay, that’ll be my next blog.)
So I ask Sgt. Lopez, “What did the kite say?”
“I can’t tell you that,” he said.
“Okay, what did it say I was doing?”
Again, he refuses to tell me. Instead he just says, “We’re searching your cell. If we don’t find anything, we’ll let you out.”
After two hours, they let me out. My cell is an absolute wreck! They went through EVERYTHING. I ask more questions, but they tell me nothing.
Now usually when things like this happen, the inmate has a good idea as to why. But in this case, I had NO IDEA. And to further complicate matters, I know these guys are straight up lying to me. Especially Sgt. Lopez, who has a history of being a liar.
The next day I go into the Correctional Unit Supervisors office. AKA: CUS Shannahan. I tell him what happened. I then ask why. He pauses for a second. Then says, “Where’s your cell phone?”
I reply, “I got caught with that back in 2008 and did seven months in the hole.”
He says, “Yeah, but you got a new one. You have someone holding it for you. Where’s it at?”
“I promise you sir, I do not have a cell phone.”
I’m a little surprised at his honesty and openness. So I ask another question, “Why do you think I have a cell phone, I mean, what brought all this about?”
Again, he’s honest with me. He says, “The mailroom read a letter from Suzie, and she was talking about your cell phone.”
At that moment, it all made sense. I had an honest explanation for everything. Except for why Sgt. Lopez felt the need to lie and display a lack of integrity. His lie could’ve put people at risk. What if I were an inmate who had a suspect in mind as to who was dropping “snitch kites”? And what if I would’ve went and picked a fight with that guy? Hey, it happens. This is prison. I’ve seen guys get beat down over NOHING!
Here’s what really happened:
Suzie and I were near the beginning of our relationship, getting to know one another through writing. In a letter, she asked me, “What’s the longest you’ve ever done in the hole?”
I wrote back, “Seven months for getting caught with a cell phone.”
The mailroom didn’t read those first letters of our conversation. They just happened to read the follow up letter that said, “You sneaky man, how did you get a cell phone in prison?”
And that’s all it took. The mailroom called up Sgt. Lopez and the rest is history. They were just doing their job. Except for Sgt. Lopez, he chose to lie and put all the known rats at risk. That is, until CUS Shannahan soothed the situation with honesty, which is why we were able to resolve this false assumption of me having a cell phone.
“Honesty is the best policy.” Especially when it comes to DOC staff.
My first book, “Stone City – Life In The Penitentiary”, will be available to buy soon. In it, you can read all about the cell phone I got caught with back in 2008. And even get a first-hand glimpse behind prison walls…with the pictures I took on that very phone.